Sunday, April 18, 2010

That Could Suck

It looks like somebody has it in their mind to build the Mindanao Railway System through and past Jasaan. As I said before, they should just build the railway down the middle of the coastal highway, as that is the flattest and emptiest land in the area on which to build a railway.

But actually building a railway past Jasaan? Well that almost certainly needs to be built on the highway. It's either that, or build it right on the water's edge, which would be senseless. Or, destroy entire Barangays: Most of the villages on the part of Mindanao around the Jasaan area are essentially built along the highway... a mile long and only a few hundred feet wide, steep hills 150 feet back on one side, beach 100 feet away on the other.

Building a railway through the middle of towns like that would displace a huge portion of the population, and it would be for a railway that I don't think would be that valuable. Really: Why build a waterfront factory on the coast out near Jasaan, and then ship your goods by rail to a port 30 miles away when you could just build a dock — like most of the factories out near Jasaan already have done — and ship your products either to an entrepot distribution site in Manila or Cagayan De Oro by water?

My personal opinion? Except perhaps for a light rail system stretching from, say, the future Hajin ship building facility in the East, through Cagayan De Oro, to the new international airport in the West, no other railway will be completed in the foreseeable future.

But then again, look at the highway being built in CDO, and perhaps there is reason to wonder if Macajalar bay's waterfront will switch over to speeding cars and rumbling freight trains.

Granted, Macajalar Bay ranks, on the whole, at the bottom of beach quality in The Philippines... so turning the entire coast into a speedway (rail or road) isn't a crime against humanity; but I think a railway past Jasaan is definitely overkill.

By the way: That highway is pointed right at the front yard of some million-dollar mansions in Villa Ernesto. (There are also four Kanos out here in Jasaan with rather valuable beachfront villas. I'll bet they aren't too keen on trading in their beach for a railroad. But again, I doubt that will happen.)

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